Weekly Review: The Finest Hours (2016)

During a storm in February 1952, the Coast Guard attempts its most daring rescue in history. A small crew in a small boat faces the dangerous ocean waters to rescue the crew of the Pendleton T2 oil tanker, after it breaks in half off the coast of Cape Cod.

I watched this movie I while ago, but at the time, I wasn’t really compelled to write a review for it. It has recently been added to Netflix, increasing its chances of being seen now that it’s been released. Due to this, I decided to write my review.

The Finest Hours is produced by Walt Disney Pictures and directed by Craig Gillespie. Based on a true story, the movie stars Chris Pine, Casey Affleck, and Holliday Grainger, with additional roles played by Ben Foster, Eric Bana, and John Ortiz. All things considered, it’s got a good cast, and I had no problems with any of the performances. They were all pretty solid. Cast members are able to convey the drama and fear appropriately, while still being able to show some funny and heartwarming moments.


If you’re a fan of movies concerning rescue missions, you might really enjoy this movie. The main plot is of an extremely daring rescue mission, and it sheds some light on the lives of members of the Coast Guard. On top of that, I thought it was a good nostalgia piece for the 1950s. When it comes to the rescue mission, The Finest Hours is pretty interesting, although it’s also pretty formulaic. You won’t find any surprises or new ground covered in The Finest Hours, but it’s a solid film nonetheless.

There are some really great moments of cinematography in The Finest Hours, such as the image I included above. It looks really great. On top of that, the pacing is well done. There are never any moments in the plot that feel like filler. Every scene has a purpose.

My biggest issue with The Finest Hours has to be the presentation of Miriam (Holliday Grainger). If you go by actual events, the real Miriam was sick at home during the big storm of 1952, but that wouldn’t be interesting for a movie. Instead of that boring stuff, the writers decided to make Miriam an insufferable annoyance (to me at least).

Throughout the movie, Grainger’s character comes into the Coast Guard office demanding to speak to her boyfriend, demanding that they call him back in before he can do his job, as if she’s better than the other wives and girlfriends. She comes off as entitled, and I found it really aggravating. It felt like they were trying to make her this way in order to get some sort of “feminist” message out in a 1950s movie. At first she seems spunky, but the overall plan becomes obvious when Eric Bana’s character tells her to “go home where she belongs”

As a feminist, I wished they hadn’t gone that far. Spouses and partners of people in the Coast Guard and overall military positions are already strong. The writers didn’t have to take the stereotypical “hard as nails” approach with her character. There are different types of strength, and I didn’t feel like they showed that appropriately. Grainger’s character just seemed to show a general lack of respect for what her boyfriend chose to do with his life. That’s how it read for me.

While many of the scenes with Grainger felt forced, and I could have dealt without them, The Finest Hours is a decent movie. It’s average, but decent.

I mentioned above that I didn’t want to review this movie at first, and that’s entirely because of the fact that there’s not much to say. It’s average. It’s kind of forgettable. It’s unfortunate that it comes off this way because it really is a good story. It just didn’t translate as well as I had hoped it would.

The Finest Hours has pretty average reviews. It has a 63% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 58% on Metacritic. The consensus is pretty much that it’s an effective movie, but that it stays in familiar territory. It goes from one scene to the next in a way that won’t bring any surprises. I haven’t read the source material, but I’ve heard that it stuck pretty true to the book with only minor embellishments to actual events.

Once again, if you’re a fan of this type of movie, then you’ll probably enjoy The Finest Hours. It’s not a bad movie by any means. I’m just not tripping over myself to tell everyone they need to watch it right this instant.

The Finest Hours is currently streaming on Netflix. Check out the trailer below to see if it might be for you.


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